CoderDojo Ghana @ IBM: Building a Big Blue Bridge across the Technological Divide
Over the past 2 years, IBM employees in Cork have established a very dynamic and successful CoderDojo, which is run weekly on Saturdays for two hour sessions with an average attendance of around fifty Ninjas. IBM employees in Dublin and Galway do likewise.
One of the founding members of the IBM Cork Dojo is a Ghanaian, Frederick Amponsah, who works as a Software Engineer in IBM Cork. Frederick had the desire to create a CoderDojo in IBM Ghana as part of a knowledge transfer network between IBM Ireland and IBM Ghana.
First CoderDojo session in Cork @ IBM
The initial plan was to kick start a CoderDojo at IBM Ghana with about twelve IBMer wards who would be trained as mentors over the course of 2 – 3 months. These mentors will then take over training of other kids after 3 months.
The Dojo at IBM Ghana is run on a weekly basis concurrently with the one in IBM Cork for two hours each Saturday. During these sessions, mentors in Cork give virtual training to Ninjas in Ghana using an IBM VOIP conference tool called IBM Sametime ® Meetings with the aid of a webcam and a whiteboard.
IBM Ghana volunteers and ninjas at their first Dojo session
IBM Ireland made a donation of IBM’s Connections business social network platform, which includes IBM Sametime, to the CoderDojo Foundation, in 2014 with the purpose of enabling global mentoring.
Training material used is based on those used at the CoderDojo in IBM Cork, which Ninjas in Ghana can access on a Moodle e-Learning platform.
The long term goal is to roll out the project into the wider community for all youth; with special emphasis on children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The beginners class in Ghana which commenced on Saturday, 8th October 2016, started with web development technologies (HTML and CSS) and with an initial intake of thirteen out of the sixteen registered Ninjas.
During the opening speech to commemorate the kick off, IBM Ghana Country General Manager, Ms. Angela Kyeremanten-Jimoh spoke about strides IBM has already made with the introduction of IBM applications and products into the University of Ghana Program and the need to start ICT training at an early age to stir up the interest and knowledge. This learning initiative was started with sixteen children from different backgrounds who displayed a great sense of interest and enthusiasm. In addition to learning about coding, the children had fun and also had the chance to socialize with each other right across the globe!
This project is in line with IBM’s the IBM Africa Skills Initiative that was announced by CEO, Ginni Rometty, in February 2014 during her visit to Nigeria and Kenya to enable the existing and future African workforce to develop skills on the new strategic technologies.
Further information about IBM’s Africa Skills initiative can be found at: https://ibm.biz/BdsxTx
IBM Cork volunteers and youth mentors involved in the Ghana project.